Web www.pburch.net
Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing
Overview Fiber Reactive Dyes Direct Dyes All-Purpose Dyes Acid Dyes      Food Coloring      Lanaset Dye      Acid Levelling (Kiton) Natural Dyes Vat Dyes Disperse Dyes Basic Dyes Naphthol Dyes Fabric Paints
Index How to Dye with
    Fiber Reactive Dye
How to Tie Dye How to Batik Low Water
Dip Dyeing Washing Machine
How to Tie Dye
    with Kool-Aid®
How to Tie Dye with
     All Purpose Dye
How to Dye and
    Paint Fabric
    with Light
cellulose fibers:     cotton     rayon and
protein fibers:     silk     wool synthetic fibers:     acrylic     nylon     polyester     spandex other materials...
acetic acid alginate ammonium sulfate baking soda citric acid ludigol mordants salt soda ash sodium silicate temperature synthrapol urea vinegar water softener
Index Batik Mandalas &
    Peace Signs
LWI dyeing Watercolor Rainbow
Tie Dyeing Spray Dyeing Fabric Paints and Markers
The Dye Forum Book Reviews Find A Custom Dyer Old Q&A Blog Blog of Questions
     & Answers (new)
Search Contact me Link here About This Site
Where to Buy
    Dye & Supplies
Mailing Lists Other Galleries Other Informative
Additional Links
Index General Dye
Fixing Dye Synthetic Fibers Color Choice Dye Auxiliaries Bleaching and
Safety Procion Dyes Acid Dyes Problems Tying Miscellaneous
Facebook: All About
    Hand Dyeing
Twitter @HandDyeing Google+
Procion MX Dyes Jacquard Acid Dyes Other Dyeing
Fabric Paints, Dyes,
    Books, and DVDs

You are here: Home > All About Hand Dyeing > FAQ > Problems > Dye Washed Away


Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye

Procion MX
Fiber Reactive
Cold Water Dye

Dye polyester and poly/cotton blends

Jacquard iDye

Jacquard iDye and iDye Poly

iDye Poly is disperse dye for polyester, nylon, and acrylic.

FAQ: My colors just washed out! What happened?

There are several mistakes that can cause dyeing to fail completely:

If you're dyeing synthetic fibers....

Synthetic fibers can be dyed only with the appropriate type of dye. If you try to dye polyester or acetate or acrylic with dyes that are suitable for cotton, rayon, silk, or wool, the dye will simply not stick. See About Dyes for more information.

If you used all purpose dye (e.g., Rit®, Tintex®)....

Oftentimes people will misuse all-purpose dye for tie-dyeing. You cannot use all-purpose dye with cold or warm water! To dye with all-purpose dye, you must use extremely HOT water. It is best to immerse the fabric in a dyebath that has been heated almost to boiling, and continue to simmer the fabric in the dye for half an hour; even then, the dye will wash out much faster than more permanent types of dye. See How can I tie dye with all purpose dye?. For more wash-resistant results on cotton, use a fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye.

If you used good fiber-reactive dye (e.g., Procion MX, Drimarene K, Cibacron/Sabracron F)....

You must have forgotten to use the soda ash fixative, if your colors washed out even though you were using fiber reactive dye on a natural fiber. (The usual explanation is that you accidentally put urea powder in the bucket, instead of soda ash!) Dichlorotriazine dyes such as Procion MX react with cellulose only at high pHs. To raise the pH of your dye reaction to the required level, you must use a product such as soda ash (sodium carbonate or pH Up) or trisodium phosphate. You can use this as a presoak, mix it in with your dye, or add it to your dyeing after adding the dye itself. In any case, the addition of the high pH starts the reaction.

One other possibility is that your dyes may have gone bad. Procion MX dyes are expected to last only one to two years after purchase. They can go bad in a single day, though, if exposed to high enough temperatures, such as the inside of a car with the windows rolled up on a sunny day. You should dissolved your dye powders in lukewarm water; dissolving Procion MX dye in very hot water can cause it to go bad in a matter of moments, before you can add it to the fabric, especially if you have mixed soda ash in with it.

If no soda ash is added to the dye mixtures, they will stay good for several days, at least, but they will go bad in about an hour, or even less, once you've added soda ash directly to the dye mixtures.

See What is soda ash? What's it used for? for more details.

Other fiber reactive dyes such as the Procion H series may require heat as well as high pH to encourage the reaction of the dye with the cellulose.

Acid dyeing requires heat

You can also dye protein fibers, such as wool or silk, with a "cold water" fiber reactive dye such as Procion MX at lower pH's, without the soda ash, but some heat is required in that case, as well as an acid to actually lower the pH. See Fiber reactive dyes on protein fibers


see answers to other FAQs about dyes and dyeing

 Home Page     Hand Dyeing Top     Gallery    About Dyes    How to Dye    How to Tie Dye    How to Batik    Low Water Immersion Dyeing    Sources for Supplies    Book Reviews    Other Galleries    Groups    FAQs     Custom Dyers    Forum    Q&A blog    link here    search    contact me  

Last updated: August 25, 2008
Page created: August 17, 2003
Downloaded: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

All of the pages on this site are copyright ©1998‑2024 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D.